Meet the Librarian

At the helm of every library are the wonderful librarians who ensure that each building is a welcoming place with opportunities for learning, wonderment and joy. A happy side-effect of a librarian’s job is that they have an incredible depth of knowledge of books and of all the great things happening in their community. We wanted to hear more about what they do…

This Month

Noreen herlihy

Noreen Herlihy

Librarian at Pembroke Library

I grew up using my local library and swapping / sharing books with family and friends. To this day, I still get most of my books the same way.

Noreen Herlihy, Pembroke Library

Tell us a little about your role with Dublin City Libraries and the kind of things that you do

I started working with Dublin City Libraries in 1995 and over the years I have worked in a number of different libraries. Prior to Pembroke Library I spent four years working in Coolock Library.

Like a lot of people the way I am currently working has changed. So much of what was part of the day, interacting with people face to face, planning and hosting events and activities in the library is no longer possible. With the current restrictions we are all trying to find ways to provide an online service and to keep some contact with library patrons.

What is your favourite part of the job?

My favourite part of the job is knowing that the basic things we do as part of our workday can help people and make them happy. Whether that’s getting them a book they want to read, introducing them to a new author, or helping them discover the e-Resources available to them.

Tell us about the library where you work. What are you most proud of?

Pembroke Library was the last Carnegie Library to be built in Ireland and opened to the public on the 27th September 1929. I only had a couple of weeks working in Pembroke before the latest Level 5 restrictions, so I was just getting to know the branch and the library patrons.

What I am most proud of is the way the staff here in Pembroke Library, and in all public libraries, have adapted and respond to the different ways we have had to provide a library service in the past few months.

Who was one of the most inspirational/ interesting people you have met in your work with Dublin City Libraries?

Over the years, some of the most inspirational and interesting people I have met in Dublin City Libraries have been people using the library. I couldn’t tell you their names, but I still remember their stories. You would be giving someone their books, you would start having a small chat and they would share a story about themselves.

I remember one woman who had no second level education telling me about the many TV quiz shows she had been on. She credited the libraries with her general knowledge as, over the years, she had read everything she could get her hands on in the library.

Tell us an interesting fact about your library.

When Pembroke Library opened in September 1929, the author Frank O’Connor was the librarian. Two of his books Guests of the Nation and The Saint and Mary Kate were written while he was working here.

What was your favourite book as a child?

Not a book, but a series: I absolutely loved the Famous Five series by Enid Blyton. When I went on holidays to England for the first time, I was more excited about getting to taste ginger beer than anything about the holiday. (I was very disappointed with the ginger beer!)

What are you reading right now?

At the moment, I am reading The Dirty South by John Connolly. Crime and thriller is still one of my favourite genre of books and I love the Charlie Parker series. I am also listening to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy on Borrowbox. I read the series years ago, but the recent BBC adaption made me want to revisit the books.

Which of your books is battered from using again and again?

I know it’s not a very original answer but Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is my go to comfort read. I have lost count of how often I have read it, or listened to it on audiobook. I guess there is a reason it is a classic.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.

Because of how much I love books, people are often surprised by how few books I own. I grew up using my local library and swapping / sharing books with family and friends. To this day I still get most of my books the same way.

Share Your Favourites?

We want to hear about the books that matter to you. Tell us about your most cherished books, what you’re reading right now, your favourite book from your childhood, and the books that make up the story of your life. Share your recommended reads and take part here

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